Cuba begins distributing PrEP through pilot program

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Cuban government has begun to distribute PrEP through a pilot program that began last month.

Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, last week reported 28 people in Cárdenas, a city in Matanzas province that is roughly 90 miles east of Havana, have received PrEP since the program began on March 6.

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Mariela Castro’s group to honor Cleve Jones in Cuba

By : Michael K. Lavers Of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National LGBT Media Association
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An organization the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro directs will honor LGBTI rights activist Cleve Jones in Havana in May.

The Rainbow World Fund, a San Francisco-based organization that describes itself as “the world’s first and only all-volunteer, LGBTQ-based humanitarian aid organization,” on March 26 said in a press release that Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education will honor Jones on May 10 during a gala at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater. The press release also notes Jones has been chosen as a grand marshal for a march that will take place in the Cuban capital the following day.

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Marriage amendment removed from new Cuba constitution

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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HAVANA | The Cuban government on Dec. 18 announced the draft of the country’s new constitution will not contain an amendment that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Hatzel Vela, a Havana-based reporter for WPLG, a South Florida television station, reported the Cuban National Assembly cited Council of State Secretary Homero Acosta Álvarez in a series of tweets that explained the decision.

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Cuban president backs same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has said he supports an amendment to his country’s new constitution that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“I defend that there should be no type of discrimination,” he told Telesur, a television station that is largely funded by the Venezuelan government, during an interview that aired on Sunday. “The will of the people and the people’s sovereignty will have the final word.”

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Cuba activists push for same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A torrential downpour was passing over the Cuban capital on May 11 when Violeta Cardoso and her partner of 32 years, Isabel Pacheco, arrived at a coffee shop in the Vedado neighborhood.

The women soon began to speak passionately about LGBTI-specific issues with Juana Mora and Lidia Romero of Acepto, a group that advocates for marriage rights for same-sex couples in Cuba. It was sweltering inside the coffee shop because of a power outage, but the women nevertheless spoke with each other for more than an hour as they drank iced tea and coffee.

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Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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Daniela Vega takes part in Havana LGBTI march

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Daniela Vega on May 12, 2018, participated in a march in Havana that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

HAVANA — The transgender actress who starred in “A Fantastic Woman” on Saturday participated in a march that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Havana.

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Mariela Castro to push for marriage, LGBTQ rights in Cuba

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Mariela Castro, daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro, leads an LGBTQ march through Havana on May 13, 2017. She told reporters on May 4, 2018, that she and her organization, the National Center for Sexual Education, will push for marriage and other rights for LGBTQ Cubans in the country’s National Assembly. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro on Friday said her organization plans to submit proposals to the country’s National Assembly that would extend marriage and other rights to LGBTQ Cubans.

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Landmark ruling recognizes marriage, trans rights in the Americas

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Tuesday issued a landmark ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage and transgender rights in the Western Hemisphere.

The seven judges who issued the ruling stated governments “must recognize and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex.” Six of the seven judges also agreed that it is necessary for governments “to guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination.”

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Gay Cuban journalists detained while covering hurricane preparations

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Carlos Alejandro Rodríguez (L) and Maykel González on the roof of their apartment building in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, in 2015. Rodríguez and González said they were detained on Sept. 6, 2017, after they tried to interview a local official about Hurricane Irma preparations.(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Two gay Cuban journalists said authorities detained them on Wednesday as they covered Hurricane Irma preparations

CiberCuba, a news website that operates independently of the Cuban government, reported Carlos Alejandro Rodríguez and his partner, Maykel González, were reporting for Periodismo de Barrio, an affiliated online outlet, in the city of Sagua la Grande when the reported incident took place.

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MCC founder reflects on Cuba trip

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, takes part in a march in Havana on May 13, 2017, that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

HAVANA — It was shortly after 6 p.m. on May 13 when Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, sat down with the Washington Blade at Havana’s iconic Hotel Nacional.

Perry’s husband, Phillip De Blieck, and Rev. Hector Gutiérrez, an MCC elder from the Mexican city of Guadalajara, joined Perry in his suite in the hotel that overlooks the Cuban capital’s oceanfront promenade and the Florida Straits. Perry spoke with the Blade hours after he and De Blieck rode alongside Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro who directs the country’s National Center for Sexual Education, in a 1950s-era car during a march that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

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Mariela Castro leads LGBT march in Havana

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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HAVANA — The daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro on Saturday led a march through the Cuban capital that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Mariela Castro, who directs Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education that is known by the Spanish acronym CENESEX, and more than 2,000 people marched from the Havana’s oceanfront to a pavilion that is near the Habana Libre hotel in the Vedado neighborhood.

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